Introducing Friend Measure

March 20, 2011 BY danariely

How well do you know your friends? We have created a really fun game on Facebook that lets you measure just that. It’s called Friend Measure.

Here’s how Friend Measure works: every week Friend Measure asks you and your friends a question. For example:

Q: If the teller at your bank gave you an extra $1,000 and you could take it and never get caught, would you?

A: Yes

B: No

Here’s the twist: not only do you answer for yourself, but Friend Measure also asks you predict what your friends would answer as well. Once you’ve made your predictions, Friend Measure calculates your “Friend Score,” which lets you know how well you really know your friends. If you think about it, this “friend score” can tell us a lot about the kinds of questions we’re asking. So far we’ve found some really surprising results.

For example: we asked “Can you tell the difference between wine that costs about $10 a bottle and one that costs about $40 a bottle?” 75% of respondents admitted, no, they can’t tell the difference. Even more surprising though, is that they thought that about 58% of their friends could tell the difference. Respondents’ overall accuracy for predicting their friends was 53%, which is basically no better than chance.

Here’s one in which users were really good at predicting their friends’ responses: we asked, “Do you think that increasing the tax rate for the wealthy by 10% will get rich people to work less?” Respondents were 84% accurate in guess their friends’ responses, because we typically know our friends’ political affiliations really well.

From time to time, I’ll be sharing interesting findings like these here, but only if you participate! Enjoy!